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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Most Meritorious Player: 1979 Discussion

Pirates sweep the Reds in the NLCS.  Earl Weaver’s Orioles beat the Angels in the ALCS. The Pirates beat the Orioles in the World Series in seven games.

MMP voting will end on March 06 2013.

Player			SH WS		BBR WAR
Lynn, Fred		34.4		8.6
Thomas, Gorman		25.9		4.5
Lemon, Chet		25.3		5.6
Winfield, Dave		32.7		8.1
Singleton, Ken		31.7		5.0
Parker, Dave		30.7		6.5
Baylor, Don		28.5		3.5
Lezcano, Sixto		27.2		5.4
Rice, Jim		28.0		6.1
Wilson, Willie		23.6		6.0
Foster, George		21.9		4.9
Cruz, Jose		26.5		4.4
Templeton, Garry	26.4		4.1
Smalley, Roy		23.4		4.1
Concepcion, Dave	24.5		4.7
Grich, Bobby		28.7		5.7
Lopes, Davey		26.9		4.5
Molitor, Paul		26.8		5.5
Randolph, Willie	22.4		5.1
Hernandez, Keith	30.4		7.4
Rose, Pete		26.6		2.9
Murray, Eddie		25.0		4.6
Brett, George		32.5		8.4
Schmidt, Mike		32.3		7.6
Parrish, Larry		27.3		4.4
Bell, Buddy		21.7		6.7
Cey, Ron		25.2		4.9
Porter, Darrell		32.7		7.4
Carter, Gary		29.0		5.8
Tenace, Gene		24.9		5.7
Bench, Johnny		21.8		5.4
Downing, Brian		23.9		5.3

Pitcher 		SH WS		BBR WAR
Niekro, Phil		23.2		7.4
Richard, JR		23.5		5.1
Eckersley, Dennis	23.5		6.9
John, Tommy		23.5		5.1
Koosman, Jerry		22.8		6.9
Flanagan, Mike		22.6		3.6
Guidry, Ron		22.4		6.2
Reuschel, Rick		17.1		5.7
Morris, Jack		16.9		5.6

Kern, Jim		25.3		6.0
Marshall, Mike		22.7		4.3
Tekulve, Kent		19.5		3.1
Sutter, Bruce		21.6		5.0
Monge, Sid		21.2		5.5
Lopez, Aurelio		19.3		5.2
Hume, Tom		17.4		3.7


DL from MN Posted: January 29, 2013 at 04:56 PM | 115 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. DL from MN Posted: January 29, 2013 at 05:04 PM (#4357694)
Lynn is probably getting bumped out of my top slot by Mike Schmidt
   2. Chris Fluit Posted: January 29, 2013 at 05:41 PM (#4357733)
There are a lot of good candidates at the top of the ballot: Lynn, Hernandez, Winfield, Brett, Schmidt, Niekro again... Not Willie Stargell though. Wow, was that a narrative/career achievement vote by the BBWAA.
   3. OCF Posted: January 29, 2013 at 09:11 PM (#4357852)
I think that one of the roots of the Stargell MVP vote was that the writers were looking for excuses not to vote for Dave Parker.
   4. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 29, 2013 at 09:56 PM (#4357866)
This was the "We Are Family" team of the Stargell Stars. Stargell's co-MVP was all about narrative.

The Pirates lost 9 of their first 10, then Stargell put the team on his back and more or less carried them back into the race, with key hits all over the place. By the end of July Stargell was hitting .317/.371/.631 and the Pirates were breathing down the necks of the Expos. Then a funny thing happened: Stargell stopped hitting. From August 1 through September 24 Stargell hit .235/.337/.423, but the Pirates didn't fade out of the race. After a doubleheader split with Montreal on the 24th (in the second game of which the bullpen blew a 6-3 lead) the Pirates were still a half-game out with six games left. On the 25th the Bucs sent Jim Rooker against Scott Sanderson. Stargell was the entire offense for five innings, hitting a pair of homers to give the Bucs leads of 2-0 and 3-2. Stargell then drew a 2-out walk in the 5th which ignited a three-run rally that put the Pirates into the lead for good - and back into first place for good. In the final game against the Cubs Stargell drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly, homered to give the Bucs a 3-0 lead in the 5th, and then with two on and two out in the 7th, with Dick Tidrow pitching, the Cubs opted to give Stargell a free pass that was following by a two-run single off the bat of Bill Robinson to lock down the NL East title.

I don't think people were looking for reasons to avoid voting for Parker. Parker picked up the slack when Stargell cooled off in August, but a lot of his best games occurred in losses and he wasn't in the story as much as he'd been a year earlier. The story of the season was mostly Stargell and the three-headed Tekulve/Jackson/Romo bullpen.

-- MWE
   5. Mr. C Posted: January 29, 2013 at 11:00 PM (#4357907)
Just finished looking at the position players for 1979 so I though I would put together my All star team: a few of whom will be no where near being on the ballot
C Porter
1B Hernandez
2b Lopes or Randolph (toss a coin)
3B Brett
SS Concepcion
RF Winfield
CF Lynn
LF (a bit of a surprise to me) Wilson

At least as far as position players go, I think Lynn is probably the class of the field
   6. SavoyBG Posted: January 30, 2013 at 01:28 AM (#4357999)
Lynn's season in 1979 was tremendous.

   7. SavoyBG Posted: January 30, 2013 at 01:32 AM (#4358000)
LF (a bit of a surprise to me) Wilson

Jim Rice and Jose Cruz were both better than Willie Wilson in 1979.

   8. SavoyBG Posted: January 30, 2013 at 01:35 AM (#4358001)
SS Concepcion

Smalley and Templeton each may have been better than Concepcion that year.
   9. DL from MN Posted: January 30, 2013 at 09:10 AM (#4358059)
I can start with my All-Star Team

C Porter
1B Hernandez
2B Grich
SS Templeton
3B Schmidt
LF Rice (but Parker and Singleton were better OF)
CF Lynn
RF Winfield

P Eckersley, Guidry, Koosman, Niekro
   10. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 30, 2013 at 09:33 AM (#4358069)
I agree, by the way, that Stargell belongs nowhere near this ballot. Not even with postseason credit.

-- MWE
   11. Mr. C Posted: January 30, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4358096)
After looking at DL's all star team, I checked my list and noticed that I missed both Molitor and Grich on my list of 2B. Molitor actually comes out slightly ahead of Grich for me so he would be my all star 2B.

A lot of Wilson's value is derived from his fielding so depending on how you view fielding numbers, he could easily be lower on the list.

I would probably agree that Templeton is a better choice than Concepcion at shortstop. I had only looked at his TZ fielding numbers but when you average in the DRA values, his fielding value take a dramatic jump. Smalley was good offensively, but was not in he same class of fielder as the the other two.

   12. DL from MN Posted: January 30, 2013 at 11:48 AM (#4358150)
1979 prelim

1) Mike Schmidt - very good defense
2) Darrell Porter - C bonus
3) Fred Lynn - easily the top CF but less value above positional average than Schmidt
4) Dave Winfield
5) Dennis Eckersley - my top pitcher of the year
6) Keith Hernandez
7) Garry Templeton
8) Gene Tenace - C bonus again, might be too high
9) George Brett
10) Dave Concepcion
11) Ron Guidry
12) Ron Cey
13) Dave Parker

14-20) Jerry Koosman, Bobby Grich, Roy Smalley, Phil Niekro, Ken Singleton, Paul Molitor, Brian Downing
   13. OCF Posted: January 30, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4358259)
I agree, by the way, that Stargell belongs nowhere near this ballot.

This was the year of the co-MVP award, the tie between Stargell and Hernandez. Hernandez does belong "somewhere near the ballot", although you will see various opinions above as to exactly where. For the BBWAA, I have to think that the case for Hernandez was about 90% batting average. For us, we'll look at Hernandez and see OBP and defense. But then thinking about OBP and defense also gets us thinking about Schmidt, and Schmidt had more power. Schmidt finished 13th in the actual NL MVP vote. It was that hard (especially at that time) to wrap heads around the notion that a .253 hitter could be as valuable on offense as a .344 hitter.

Winfield was third in that vote, behind Hernandez and Stargell, followed by Larry Parrish and Ray Knight (because they hit .300) followed Joe Niekro (because he was 21-11), followed by two relief pitchers.
   14. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 30, 2013 at 05:11 PM (#4358497)
But then thinking about OBP and defense also gets us thinking about Schmidt, and Schmidt had more power. Schmidt finished 13th in the actual NL MVP vote. It was that hard (especially at that time) to wrap heads around the notion that a .253 hitter could be as valuable on offense as a .344 hitter.

And yet Michael Jack finished third in the MVP voting three years earlier with stats that weren't all that dissimilar to what he did in 1979, although not quite on that level. The difference is that the Phillies, after three consecutive division titles, collapsed to fourth in the division in 1979 and got Danny Ozark fired. In that context, Schmidt was pretty lucky to finish 13th. The Cardinals, on the other hand, went from 69-93 in 1978 to 86-76 in 1979, and Hernandez was the face of that visible improvement. Of course, order was restored a year later as the Phillies won it all with Schmidt getting the MVP, and the Cardinals falling back to 74 wins and getting Ken Boyer fired and Whitey Herzog hired. Hernandez saw his numbers drop a little, and managed to finish 11th in the MVP vote.

The bottom line here is that it was still important to play a key role (a) on a winner or (b) on a surprise team, and still costly to play on a disappointing team.

-- MWE
   15. OCF Posted: January 30, 2013 at 05:46 PM (#4358529)
The Cardinals of the late 70's were a strange team. There was a lot of obvious talent there, headlined by Simmons and Hernandez. Templeton broke in in spectacular fashion and looked like he'd be a star in the long run. But the team often had rather disappointing results. (As MWE suggests, 1979 was better than most.) Yeah, it might have been nice to have kept Jose Cruz, and believing that Ken Reitz was a star was not helpful.
   16. SavoyBG Posted: January 30, 2013 at 06:41 PM (#4358581)
Here's what I'm thinking so far.

1 - Fred Lynn
2 - George Brett
3 - Dave Winfield
4 - Mike Schmidt
5 - Keith Hernandez
6 - Dave Parker
7 - Darell Porter
8 - Ken Singleton
9 - Don Baylor
10 - Bobby Grich
11 - Dennis Eckersley
12 - Jerry Koosman
13 - Larry Parrish

   17. bjhanke Posted: January 30, 2013 at 11:32 PM (#4358734)
A lot of what was wrong with the Cardinals in the 1970s had to do with the managers. They started the decade with Red Schoendienst, who was a very passive manager (as you probably all know from the previous times I've mentioned this). Bob Gibson and other players had provided the push and discipline when they won their two pennants, but Gibson faded fast in the early 1970s. Without that clubhouse leader, and with a crop of new young stars coming in, Red lost control of the team, whose leaders became the very young Ted Simmons and Keith Hernandez, neither of whom was very good at that task. Gussie Busch (the owner) and his GMs finally figured out what was wrong, and brought in their AAA manager, Vern Rapp, known for his discipline and control over minor league players. But Rapp had never been in the major leagues in any capacity before, and insisted on treating major league stars the same as he had treated them when they were kids in the minors, learning skills, and in need of teaching. This produced massive clubhouse revolt, and Rapp was gone. They replaced him with Ken Boyer, who was, well, not quite as passive as Schoendienst, but was, essentially, Bob Lemon to Rapp's Billy Martin. He lost control of the club in about a year, and Gussie turned to Whitey Herzog, who was up to the task of managing a difficult major league club without treating them as if they were still in the minors. Frustrated by this, and seeing the waste of talent, I had actually drifted away from baseball fandom by the late 1970s, but Don Malcolm brought me back by telling me that I MUST go get this book called The 1981 Bill James Baseball Abstract. - Brock Hanke
   18. SavoyBG Posted: January 30, 2013 at 11:49 PM (#4358745)
And yet Michael Jack finished third in the MVP voting three years earlier with stats that weren't all that dissimilar to what he did in 1979

Yes, but his team won their division in 1976 and were in the post season for the first time since 1950. MVP voters seem to care about how the player's team did.

   19. DL from MN Posted: January 31, 2013 at 08:27 AM (#4358817)
MVP voters seem to care about how the player's team did.

Yeah, it's one of the reasons they do a bad job at determining the best player. They look at the good teams and vote for the guy that hit cleanup. Players on bad teams have to work really hard to get noticed, especially if they play an up the middle position.
   20. AndrewJ Posted: January 31, 2013 at 09:00 AM (#4358828)
On July 30th Schmidt had a .280/.406/.646 line with 36 home runs, which (IIRC) was an NL record at the time for most homers before August. He then proceeded to hit under .200 the rest of the season as the Phils remained irrelevant. In other words, in 1980 he was able to sustain his April-July 1979 production level over the entire year.
   21. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 31, 2013 at 09:38 AM (#4358846)
MVP voters don't believe their job is to determine the best player, but the most valuable - and there is some value added in propelling a team into a postseason spot or into a race for a postseason spot. Not as much as the voters believe, of course, but all else being equal, or close to equal, there's reason to prefer a player who does it for a 90-win team over one who does it for a .500 team.

None of that should apply here, obviously.

-- MWE
   22. SavoyBG Posted: January 31, 2013 at 11:47 AM (#4358965)
None of that should apply here, obviously.

I don't agree with that. There's more "merit" in coming through when it means something than in having great stats when there's nothing on the line.

   23. DL from MN Posted: January 31, 2013 at 12:39 PM (#4359041)
There are voters that take things like WPA into account and I give credit for postseason performance. I don't think anyone here thinks a player's performance is irrelevant if his team doesn't make the postseason. I also don't see how hitting a double or catching a ball has more merit if your team's pitching staff is really good. The whole goal of this project is to recognize the player who had the best season. In that regard, every game means something.

Here's the relevant snippet of the rules:

"Voters should consider the player’s on-field contribution to Major League Baseball (MLB) team(s) in that season only."
   24. SavoyBG Posted: January 31, 2013 at 01:50 PM (#4359169)
I also don't see how hitting a double or catching a ball has more merit if your team's pitching staff is really good. The whole goal of this project is to recognize the player who had the best season. In that regard, every game means something.

Have you ever been under pressure in a big spot concerning sports?

I have, as an umpire, and I can tell you, it's much harder to to a good job working the plate in a county final with 2000 fans there than it is to do a good job in a March scrimmage.

If you don't think that some guys choke under pressure, you haven't been in the pit.

Look at Barry Bonds post season at bats with the Pirates and tell me whether or not his psyche was making him perform badly, or are you gonna claim that it was just random chance that he slugged .265 over those 20 games?

Of course every game means something, but if it's close between 2 players, for me, the guy who was under pressure gets the edge. Yaz in 1967 for instance, check out what he did over the last week of that season.

   25. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: January 31, 2013 at 02:05 PM (#4359201)
or are you gonna claim that it was just random chance that he slugged .265 over those 20 games?

Random chance.
   26. SavoyBG Posted: January 31, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4359236)
Random chance.

Go back and watch those at bats. He was clearly pressing.

Did you ever play sports at any level above Little League?

   27. DL from MN Posted: January 31, 2013 at 02:27 PM (#4359245)
some guys choke under pressure

Yeah, and slugging .265 isn't going to get rewarded. If a player can't handle performing under pressure he generally can't even make it to the majors, let alone have a season that would be worthy of MMP consideration.
   28. SavoyBG Posted: January 31, 2013 at 02:32 PM (#4359255)
Yeah, and slugging .265 isn't going to get rewarded. If a player can't handle performing under pressure he generally can't even make it to the majors, let alone have a season that would be worthy of MMP consideration.

There's different levels of pressure.

Playof games just have a totally different feel to them.....for both players AND umpires.

There was a great special on about the umpires from this year's world series, on the MLB network. Check it out if it comes on again.

These players are not Strat-O-Matic cards where everything is always as random as a roll of the dice.

   29. Chris Fluit Posted: January 31, 2013 at 04:44 PM (#4359446)
1979 Prelim Ballot

1. Fred Lynn, CF, Boston Red Sox: #1 in OPS+ and Runs Created, +10 fielding runs
2. George Brett, 3B, Kansas City Royals: 148 OPS+ and +16 fielding runs
3. Darrell Porter, C, Kansas City Royals: 142 OPS+ and 119 runs created as catcher; 15 games at DH drop him below Royals teammate Brett
4. Dave Winfield, RF, San Diego Padres: #1 in OPS+ and #2 in Runs Created in NL
5. Mike Schmidt, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies: 154 OPS+ and +7 fielding runs
6. Keith Hernandez, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals: 151 OPS+ and 135 Runs Created
7. Jim Rice, RF, Boston Red Sox: Another solid season with a 154 OPS+ and 138 Runs Created
8. Phil Niekro, P, Atlanta Braves: the top pitcher in either league thanks to 342 innings pitched
9. Bobby Grich, 2B, California Angels: 145 OPS+ while playing up-the-middle position
10. Ken Singleton, RF, Baltimore Orioles: 155 OPS+ and 127 Runs Created
11. J. R. Richard, P, Houston Astros: best combination of rate and bulk (130 ERA+ in 292 innings)
12. Tommy John, P, New York Yankees: best combination of rate and bulk in the AL (137 ERA+ in 276 innings)
13. Jim Kern, RP, Texas Rangers: didn't see this one coming; Sutter had the Cy Young year but Kern had the better relief season with a 1.57 ERA (264 ERA+) in 143 innings

14. Dave Parker, RF, Pittsburgh Pirates: the Cobra just misses this year's ballot
15. Sixto Lezcano, RF, Milwaukee Brewers: essentially tied with Parker for 14th
16. Dennis Eckersley, P, Boston Red Sox: another '78 ballotee who falls a little short this year
17. Gary Carter, C, Montreal Expos
18. Ron Guidry, P, New York Yankees: see Eck
19. Mike Flanagan, P, Baltimore Orioles
20. Gene Tenace, C/1B, San Diego Padres

   30. SavoyBG Posted: January 31, 2013 at 04:56 PM (#4359462)
13. Jim Kern, RP, Texas Rangers: didn't see this one coming; Sutter had the Cy Young year but Kern had the better relief season with a 1.57 ERA (264 ERA+) in 143 innings

Kern was awesome that year. He almost made my list.

   31. Rough Carrigan Posted: January 31, 2013 at 08:36 PM (#4359660)
IIRC, Fred Lynn worked out with weight machines, nautilus or cybex, I forget which, in the offseason before the 1979 season, had probably his best season and then didn't do the same workouts before the 1980 season. Fred Lynn, ladies and gentlemen.
   32. SavoyBG Posted: February 01, 2013 at 01:51 AM (#4359814)
Here's my favorite records from 1979:

1 ¦ We Were Both Wrong ¦ Dave Edmunds
2 ¦ The Walk ¦ Inmates
3 ¦ Madness ¦ Madness
4 ¦ What I Like About You ¦ Romantics
5 ¦ Cool For Cats ¦ Squeeze
6 ¦ Back Of My Hand ¦ Jags
7 ¦ Rapper's Delight ¦ Sugarhill Gang
8 ¦ Rock Billy Boogie ¦ Robert Gordon
9 ¦ Train In Vain (Stand By Me) ¦ Clash
10 ¦ Straight Lines ¦ New Musik
11 ¦ Born To Be Alive ¦ Patrick Hernandez
12 ¦ Dirty Water ¦ Inmates
13 ¦ London Calling ¦ Clash
14 ¦ Video Killed The Radio Star ¦ Buggles
15 ¦ Crazy Little Thing Called Love ¦ Queen
16 ¦ Hot Stuff ¦ Donna Summer
17 ¦ Rock And Roll High School ¦ Ramones
18 ¦ Cracking Up ¦ Nick Lowe
19 ¦ Black Slacks ¦ Robert Gordon
20 ¦ Good Timin' ¦ Beach Boys
21 ¦ Life During Wartime ¦ Talking Heads
22 ¦ Bad Case Of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor) ¦ Robert Palmer
23 ¦ One Step Beyond ¦ Madness
24 ¦ Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2) ¦ Pink Floyd
25 ¦ Working My Way Back To You/Forgive Me, Girl ¦ Spinners
26 ¦ Cruel To Be Kind ¦ Nick Lowe
27 ¦ Don't Bring Me Down ¦ ELO
28 ¦ On The Radio ¦ Donna Summer
29 ¦ Refugee ¦ Tom Petty & Heartbreakers
30 ¦ Brass In Pocket ¦ Pretenders
31 ¦ I Do The Rock ¦ Tim Curry
32 ¦ Let's Go ¦ Cars
33 ¦ You Can't Change That ¦ Raydio
34 ¦ Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough ¦ Michael Jackson
35 ¦ Ladies Night ¦ Kool & the Gang
36 ¦ Low Budget ¦ Kinks
37 ¦ Heartache Tonight ¦ Eagles
38 ¦ A Message To You Rudy ¦ Specials
39 ¦ Dance The Night Away ¦ Van Halen
40 ¦ One Way Ticket ¦ Eddie Bond
41 ¦ Girls Talk ¦ Dave Edmunds
42 ¦ Crawling From The Wreckage ¦ Dave Edmunds
43 ¦ My Sharona ¦ Knack
44 ¦ I'm The Man ¦ Joe Jackson
45 ¦ Rock Around The Clock ¦ Sex Pistols
46 ¦ (Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman ¦ Kinks
47 ¦ Rockin' My Life Away ¦ Jerry Lee Lewis
48 ¦ Pop Muzik ¦ M
49 ¦ Cars ¦ Gary Numan
50 ¦ Money ¦ Flying Lizards
51 ¦ Good Times ¦ Chic
52 ¦ Heaven Must Have Sent You ¦ Bonnie Pointer
53 ¦ Is She Really Going Out With Him ¦ Joe Jackson
54 ¦ I Got You ¦ Split Enz
55 ¦ Queen Of Hearts ¦ Dave Edmunds
56 ¦ Making Plans For Nigel ¦ XTC
57 ¦ Reasons To Be Cheerful (Part 3) ¦ Ian Dury & Blockheads
   33. Chris Fluit Posted: February 01, 2013 at 08:36 AM (#4359839)
Some interesting songs on that list, Savoy. Quick note though: the unofficial policy is to hold off on the annual music discussions until that year's ballot thread is open.
   34. DL from MN Posted: February 01, 2013 at 08:53 AM (#4359842)
Thanks Chris. We try to keep it on topic until we start voting.
   35. DL from MN Posted: February 01, 2013 at 11:08 AM (#4359908)
BTW - the 2012 thread is open to music discussion but there have been no takers
   36. Mr. C Posted: February 02, 2013 at 04:12 PM (#4360774)
1979 Preliminary

WAR framework, with a higher baseline replacement level than "normal", resulting in a reduction in replacement wins (Wins Above Reduced Replacement). All fielding numbers used are an average of TZ and DRA.

1. Fred Lynn 7.95 WARR
2. George Brett 7.80 WARR
3. Dave Winfield 7.65 WARR
4. Mike Schmidt 7.35 WARR
5. Keith Hernandez 7.2 WARR
6. Darrell Porter 6.85 WARR
7. Phil Niekro 6.5 WARR
8. Dennis Eckersley 6.3 WARR
9. Jerry Koosman 6.1 WARR
10. Buddy Bell 5.9 WARR
11. Willie Wilson 5.65 WARR
12. Jim Kern 5.6 WARR
13. Gene Tenace 5.35 WARR

The outstanding defense played by both Willie Wilson and Buddy Bell helped them rate this high.

The rest of the top 20
Dave Parker
Ken Singleton
Ron Guidry
Sid Monge
Ron Cey
Paul Molitor
Gary Carter
   37. lieiam Posted: February 02, 2013 at 09:36 PM (#4360881)
Using my usual uber-stat blender system, here's my prelim:

1 LYNN, FRED 9829
10 PARKER, DAVE 7364
13 RICHARD, J.R. 7021

14 RICE, JIM 7021
15 KERN, JIM 6968
16 TENACE, GENE 6853
17 GUIDRY, RON 6827
20 JOHN, TOMMY 6699

Lynn was tops in 5 of the 6 systems I'm currently using.
In the one exception, Eckersley was tops.
This is the last year of baseball before I started following it.
I was vaguely aware of it (as my mom would quite often listen to games on radio and
sometimes watch on TV... but it was something I was curious about and didn't start
following until 1980).
   38. DanG Posted: February 03, 2013 at 02:49 AM (#4360966)
Lots of quality from the 'pen men in 1979.

Rk             Player WAR ERASV   WPA  WHIP GF GS    IP Age  Tm Lg  G  W  L  ERA   BA OPS+
1            Jim Kern 6.0  264 29 4.698 1.126 57  0 143.0  30 TEX AL 71 13  5 1.57 .198   49
2           Sid Monge 5.5  178 19 3.981 1.221 53  0 131.0  28 CLE AL 76 12 10 2.40 .209   67
3       Aurelio Lopez 5.2  181 21 6.493 1.150 49  0 127.0  30 DET AL 61 10  5 2.41 .210   65
4        Bruce Sutter 4.9  188 37 3.889 0.977 56  0 101.1  26 CHC NL 62  6  6 2.22 .186   34
5       Mike Marshall 4.3  166 32 2.058 1.262 84  1 142.2  36 MIN AL 90 10 15 2.65 .254   80
6            Tom Hume 3.7  137 17 2.356 1.196 33 12 163.0  26 CIN NL 57 10  9 2.76 .262   89
7         Joe Sambito 3.2  199 22 3.091 1.128 51  0  91.1  27 HOU NL 63  8  7 1.77 .235   81
8        Kent Tekulve 3.1  142 31 5.691 1.176 67  0 134.1  32 PIT NL 94 10  8 2.75 .222   64
9          Elias Sosa 3.0  188 18 2.819 1.179 41  0  96.2  29 MON NL 62  8  7 1.96 .220   70
10       Mark Littell 2.9  175 13 2.501 1.202 40  0  82.1  26 STL NL 63  9  4 2.19 .203   54
11       Gary Lavelle 2.7  141 20 0.572 1.324 55  0  96.2  30 SFG NL 70  7  9 2.51 .247   92
12      Skip Lockwood 2.2  246  9 1.890 1.110 22  0  42.1  32 NYM NL 27  2  5 1.49 .224   81
13         Dick Drago 2.2  147 13 1.020 1.191 37  1  89.0  34 BOS AL 53 10  6 3.03 .254   73
14       Pete Redfern 2.2  127  1 0.916 1.302 13  6 108.1  24 MIN AL 40  7  3 3.49 .258   84
15       Tim Stoddard 2.1  237  3 0.520 1.086 15  0  58.0  26 BAL AL 29  3  1 1.71 .212   59
16          Ron Davis 2.1  143  9 2.217 1.313 21  0  85.1  23 NYY AL 44 14  2 2.85 .262   89
17   Byron McLaughlin 2.0  105 14 3.019 1.407 31  7 123.2  23 SEA AL 47  7  7 4.22 .251   94
18    Joey McLaughlin 1.9  164  5 1.437 1.275 13  0  69.0  22 ATL NL 37  5  3 2.48 .224   71
19       Rich Gossage 1.8  156 18 1.465 1.149 33  0  58.1  27 NYY AL 36  5  3 2.62 .227   71 
   39. bjhanke Posted: February 04, 2013 at 06:40 AM (#4361951)
Savoy (#24, as opposed to all the other Savoy posts in this thread so far) -

As a form of shorthand, I refer to my sports endeavors as being "stick fighting." Actually, they were in a medieval group called the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). In the SCA, we make "swords" and spears and polearms, etc. out of furniture rattan and foam, but we make real armor out of real metal, so we don't spend half the year in the hospital. We also choose our kings by tournament, one every six months. If you win, you're the prince for 6 months and then the king for another 6. (If you win and you're female - which has happened - you're the princess and queen, so we often use the terms "regent" and "consort" since we require the tourney entrants to actually have someone of the opposite sex to fight for and reign with.) During my prime, I finished second in the crown tourney twice (the SCA is divided into kingdoms; STL is in Calontir, which comprises MO, IA, KS, and NE, so I was essentially fighting in four-state tournaments) and in the semifinals six more times. So, yes, I've dealt with sports performance pressure when something I really wanted was truly on the line.

What I found, and I spent several years asking the other guys who came close to winning or who actually won, is that fighters either do or do not have a "Crown Tourney mode", where they fight noticeably better than they do when it's not activated. I also found that, in the SCA, it kicks in when you reach the semifinals. The way I refer to it is that, when you get to the semis, you're "in the tournament." Everyone I've talked to who has been there agrees that this is true. There's a mental focus that you don't have even in earlier rounds of the tourney, even if you've been hanging out in the finals and semis for years. So yes, I have no doubt that the effect exists. The problem with giving credit for it, either in the SCA or in baseball, is that everyone who gets that far along (to the postseason in MLB) is someone, or some team, that does have that mental mode to use. Either that, or they just have overwhelming talent. And even the overwhelming talent guys don't win all that often, at least until they've been there a time or two and developed a crown tourney mode. An experienced overwhelming talent guy is going to beat anyone who isn't, as you might imagine.

So, while the "clutch performance" effect is real, it tends to cancel itself out, because the other guy has it working, too. That's why clutch performance in baseball is so hard to repeat, and so likely, even when it is repeated, to be largely luck. When you get to to the World Series, having "clutch" isn't an advantage. It's necessary. If you don't have it, you're not going to win, unless you've just got an unbeatable roster of talent. Also, since just getting to the major leagues at all is a very competitive thing to try to do, I would imagine that almost everyone in MLB has at least some "crown tourney" gear. Either that, or they have overwhelming talent (Garry Tempelton). Otherwise, the guys who do have that kind of gear will beat you out for that coveted MLB spot and salary. - Brock
   40. TomH Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4363728)
Can we get WS for Pops Stargell (WAR has him at 2.3)? I'm willing to give him a large 'effect on team performance' bonus, but need to know how much he would need to get him on the ballot.
   41. DL from MN Posted: February 06, 2013 at 11:40 AM (#4363779)
I get all the Win Shares from the baseball gauge at
   42. TomH Posted: February 06, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4364359)
mixing WS with a combo of WAR and RAA+defense
some credit for helping your team win a division
post-season credit? yes.
small catcher bonus

1 Lynn
2 Porter
3 Brett
4 Winfield
5 Schmidt
6 Parker - fine world series
7 Hernandez - led league in 2B, runs scored, avg, and re-invented 1B
8 Singleton
9 Rice
10 Carter
11 Grich
12-15 Baylor (some clutch RBI-for-pennant bonus, Niekro, Lezcano, Kern, Stargell (massive post-season and probably some clubhouse credit), and Bench (caught almost every game down the stretch for a team that snuck into the playoffs; wi l need to check game logs / team pitching / clutch stats to see if he gets enough creidt to merit a ballot slot)
   43. DL from MN Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:11 PM (#4365298)
1979 NLCS

Player G  AB  R  H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  BA  OBP  SLG  OPS  SB  CS
Parker 3  12  2  4  0  0  0  2  2  3  .333  .400  .333  .733  1  0  
Stargell 3  11  2  5  2  0  2  6  3  2  .455  .571  1.182  1.753  0  0

Concepcion 3  14  1  6  1  0  0  0  0  3  .429  .429  .500  .929  0  1

Phil Garner and Johnny Bench were pretty good too.

Pitcher G  GS  ERA  W  L  SV  CG  IP  H  ER  BB  SO  WHIP
Tekulve 2  0  3.38  0  0  0  0  2.2  2  1  2  2  1.500  
   44. DL from MN Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:15 PM (#4365306)
1979 ALCS

Player G  AB  R  H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  BA  OBP  SLG  OPS  SB  CS
Singleton 4  16  4  6  2  0  0  2  1  2  .375  .389  .500  .889  0  0

Downing 4  15  1  3  0  0  0  1  1  1  .200  .235  .200  .435  0  0
Baylor 4  16  2  3  0  0  1  2  1  2  .188  .235  .375  .610  0  0
Grich 4  13  0  2  1  0  0  2  1  1  .154  .200  .231  .431  0  0

Pitcher G  GS  ERA  W  L  SV  CG  IP  H  ER  BB  SO  WHIP
Flanagan 1  1  5.14  1  0  0  0  7.0  6  4  1  2  1.000  
   45. DL from MN Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:18 PM (#4365312)
1979 WS

Player G  AB  R  H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  BA  OBP  SLG  OPS  SB  CS
Singleton 7  28  1  10  1  0  0  2  2  5  .357  .400  .393  .793  0  0  

Parker 7  29  2  10  3  0  0  4  2  7  .345  .394  .448  .842  0  1
Stargell 7  30  7  12  4  0  3  7  0  6  .400  .375  .833  1.208  0  0

Pitcher G  GS  ERA  W  L  SV  CG  IP  H  ER  BB  SO  WHIP
Flanagan  3  2  3.00  1  1  0  1  15.0  18  5  2  13  1.333

Tekulve 5  0  2.89  0  1  3  0  9.1  4  3  3  10  0.750
   46. fra paolo Posted: February 09, 2013 at 03:51 PM (#4366146)
A handful of AL starters by my system:

Flanagan 102.7 Pitching Runs Created
Eckersley 102.4
John 100
Guidry 98
Caldwell 83
Palmer (because his name was already in the spreadsheet) 57

Since a MMP usually has 120+ runs created, I don't think any of these is likely to lead my ballot.
   47. Rob_Wood Posted: February 09, 2013 at 05:29 PM (#4366182)
My Win Value stat for 1979 starting pitchers.

1. Joe Niekro 3.4
2. J.R. Richard 3.3
3. John Fulgham 2.8
4. Tom Seaver 2.2
5. John Candelaria 2.1
6. Silvio Martinez 2.0
7. Jim Bibby 2.0
8. David Palmer 2.0
9. Gaylord Perry 1.9
10. Dan Schatzeder 1.8

1. Mike Flanagan 4.5
2. Dennis Eckersley 4.2
3. Tommy John 3.9
4. Ron Guidry 3.8
5. Jerry Koosman 3.7
6. Jack Morris 3.4
7. Mike Caldwell 2.7
8. Steve Comer 2.3
9. Jim Slaton 2.1
10. Geoff Zahn 2.0
   48. Mr. C Posted: February 09, 2013 at 07:58 PM (#4366243)
1979 Preliminary: version 2

Comments on the thread about the importance of when a player gets his hits started me thinking. The starting point to my evaluation has always been to determine the RAA. I have always used a context neutral stat such as XR runs or wOBA to do that. After some thought about the subject, I decided that for this purpose a context neutral stat was not the way to go. So I redid my calculations using value added runs (RE24) to determine my starting point (RAA). I then did the adjustments and calculated replacement runs the way I have always done them. The results did not change the top 13 very much, but it certainly reordered them.

My second version of my preliminary with wins above reduced replacement.

1. George Brett 9.00
2. Dave Winfield 8.60
3. Keith Hernandez 8.55
4. Darrell Porter 7.75
5. Fred Lynn 7.40
6. Phil Niekro 7.15
7. Mike Schmidt 7.05
8. Dennis Eckersley 6.70
9. Jerry Koosman 6.60
10. Gene Tenace 6.35
11. Dave Parker 6.00
12. Jim Kern 6.00
13. Buddy Bell 5.75

The next 20
Booby Grich
Gary Carter
Gary Templeton
Rick Reuschel
Dave Concepcion
Ron Guidry
Sixto Lezcano

   49. TomH Posted: February 11, 2013 at 09:05 AM (#4366915)
Rob - that is Joe, not Phil Niekro, on your list?
   50. bjhanke Posted: February 11, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4366971)
Tom #42 - I'm not sure I want to credit Hernandez with re-inventing first base defense. I WILL credit him with being the best defensive 1B since the mid-1960s, or earlier, and I include up through 2012 in that. The next best defensive 1B I've seen in that time period was J. T.Snow, whose glove was so good that he could keep a job when he really didn't hit as well as you'd expect a starting 1B to hit. The 1950s-1060s produced at least three outstanding defensive 1B: Vic Power, Wes Parker, and Bill White. I got to see a lot of White and a considerable amount of Parker, along with a smattering of Power. They played 1B defense just as well as Hernandez did, and better than Snow. I will credit Keith for one thing: making adjustments to the new turf fields. The speed and lack of bad hops which characterize turf allows you to play further back than usual, but it also means that you have to have an arm and you have to be moving fast to 1B when the ball isn't going to get to you. Hernandez was great at those skills, and at pouncing on bunts. But so were Power, Parker and White. Just a matter of different times. - Brock Hanke
   51. TomH Posted: February 11, 2013 at 11:42 AM (#4366989)
great info, Brock, and I agree with merely the pieces of your insight that I can confirm (since I did not see MLB prior to 1969). "reinvent" is too streong of a term, altho you could argue that besides the turf field adaptation, Hernandez also was more successfully aggressive on fileindg the bunt play than any I have seen. If I were an MLB manager, I would almost refuse to bunt, even with my pitcher up, if Keith was crawling down the line from first base.
   52. caiman Posted: February 11, 2013 at 02:22 PM (#4367125)
From Mike Gimbel:

The RPA top hitters and pitchers for 1979 in terms of run value above average:

NL Hitters: pos age Team Run Value
Mike Schmidt 3B 29 Philadelphia 46.02
Dave Winfield OF 27 San Diego 41.01
Lee Mazzilli OF 24 New York 35.53
Davey Lopes 2B 34 Los Angeles 34.35
Gene Tenace C 32 San Diego 32.90
Keith Hernandez 1B 25 St. Louis 32.85
George Foster OF 30 Cincinnati 31.52
Dave Parker OF 28 Pittsburgh 30.83
Ron Cey 3B 31 Los Angeles 28.97
Mike Ivie UT 26 San Francisco 24.70
Larry Parrish 3B 25 Montreal 24.29
Jack Clark OF 23 San Francisco 23.74
Pete Rose 1B 38 Philadelphia 23.46

NL Pitchers: W-L Age Team Run Value
Bruce Sutter 6-6 26 Chicago 21.19
J.R. Richard 18-13 29 Houston 20.27
Kent Tekulve 10-8 32 Pittsburgh 18.32
John Fulgham 10-6 23 St. Louis 17.53
Burt Hooton 11-10 29 Los Angeles 16.56
Phil Niekro 21-20 40 Atlanta 16.14
Jim Bibby 12-4 34 Pittsburgh 13.64
Don Sutton 12-15 34 Los Angeles 13.01
Elias Sosa 8-7 29 Montreal 12.97
Steve Rogers 13-12 29 Montreal 12.79
Rick Reuschel 18-12 30 Chicago 12.75
Bruce Kison 13-7 29 Pittsburgh 11.98
Mark Littell 9-4 26 St. Louis 11.69

AL Hitters: pos age Team Run Value
Ken Singleton OF 32 Baltimore 45.56
Fred Lynn OF 27 Boston 43.01
Don Baylor OF 30 California 38.58
Sixto Lezcano OF 25 Milwaukee 37.69
Steve Kemp OF 24 Detroit 32.63
Oscar Gamble OF 29 Tex/NY 31.59
Bobby Grich 2B 30 California 30.82
Brian Downing C 28 California 30.42
Jim Rice OF 26 Boston 29.75
Darrell Porter C 27 Kansas City 29.34
Reggie Jackson OF 33 New York 29.19
Gorman Thomas OF 28 Milwaukee 27.19
Gary Roenicke OF 24 Baltimore 24.16

AL Pitchers: W-L Age Team Run Value
Jim Kern 13-5 30 Texas 22.97
Tommy John 21-9 36 New York 21.83
Jerry Koosman 20-13 36 Minnesota 20.24
Dennis Eckersley 17-10 24 Boston 18.36
Rick Wise 15-10 33 Cleveland 18.05
Sid Monge 12-10 28 Cleveland 16.80
Ken Kravec 15-13 27 Chicago 15.60
Mike Flanagan 23-9 27 Baltimore 14.56
Mike Marshall 10-15 36 Minnesota 14.45
Ron Guidry 18-8 28 New York 14.27
Ed Farmer 5-7 29 Chic/Tex 14.05
Scott McGregor 13-6 25 Baltimore 12.78
Tippy Martinez 10-3 29 Baltimore 12.76
   53. caiman Posted: February 11, 2013 at 02:27 PM (#4367128)
From Mike Gimbel:

The fact that the RPA top AL hitter in 1979 was Ken Singleton, is no surprise since Singleton was also the top RPA rated AL hitter the previous year in 1978.
   54. Rob_Wood Posted: February 11, 2013 at 04:30 PM (#4367236)
Joe Niekro, not Phil, really leads 1979 NL starting pitchers in Win Values. Phil Niekro is way down the list in 19th spot with only 1.1 Win Values.

Remember, Win Values is a type of stat similar in nature to WPA (Win Probability Added) as it evaluates a pitcher's game-by-game run prevention viz a viz his run support. For the second year in a row, Phil Niekro does quite poorly on this stat.
   55. caiman Posted: February 11, 2013 at 05:31 PM (#4367267)
I could care less about some stat called "win values". When I read Bill James "Historical Abstract", I was aghast at his description of his "Win Shares" 'methodology'. Not statistical analysis, but rather statistical 'massaging' via imagination. Game-by-game run prevention is based on a small data sample. Too small, even if the methodology were perfect, which I suspect it is not. I rate per every plate appearance.

In any case, how is it possible for your rating to have Joe Niekro better than J.R. Richard on his same team. No comparison! J.R. Richard was fabulous. Joe Niekro was LUCKY. If "win Values" has Joe Niekro as the top pitcher, then I am convinced that "win values" is bogus. By the way, why would I care about a pitcher's run support? That's the offense' problem. That has nothing to do with the pitcher. The pitcher is just part of the defense. Nothing more. measuring a pitcher's performance vs. his run support makes no sense!
   56. caiman Posted: February 11, 2013 at 05:46 PM (#4367276)
One more fact:
Phil Niekro won 21 games for a team that won just 66 games. Almost 1/3 of their wins! Atlanta had a pathetic offense, yet Niekro went 21-20. The team couldn't hit, yet he still won 21 games. WOW!
Joe Niekro pitched for a team that won 89 games. The fact that he won 21 games is a lot less remarkable, especially due to the fact that the Astros had a much better offense. I suspect that you haven't taken the huge difference in stadium effects into account. Yes, the Braves scored many more runs, but that was a stadium effect, not reality. Atlanta was "the launching pad", whereas the Astrodome was an offense killer. In any case, I reat: Niekro won 21 games for a team that won just 66 games. If "win values" is your 'methodology', how do you account for that?
   57. Mike Emeigh Posted: February 11, 2013 at 06:54 PM (#4367333)
By the way, why would I care about a pitcher's run support? That's the offense' problem. That has nothing to do with the pitcher.

Well, when you talk to pitchers, they will tell you that they approach hitters differently when they have a lead than when they are behind, and when they have a big lead vs when they have a small lead. That's dictated mostly by run support (although to some extent by how good or bad a pitcher was also).

-- MWE
   58. caiman Posted: February 11, 2013 at 07:18 PM (#4367351)
Yes, I would suspect that every pitcher would change their approach to a hitter based upon the score, but I think that the ability of the pitcher is the determining factor. Yes, some pitchers may be better 'in the clutch' but I doubt that this is a huge factor. In any case, the Joe Niekro/Phil Niekro comparison is bogus, not just in terms of 1979, but career-wise. If Joe was so very much better, shouldn't it show up over the career, rather than it appearing one season or two seasons? Phil Niekro pitched for a lot of lousy Atlanta teams, yet was consistently successful. Joe Niekro really had only one season in which I rate him having an outstanding season: 1982. While Phil's career RPA rating is excellent, Joe's is actually below average!
By the way: The claim that Joe Niekro was the best pitcher in 1978 is nonsense. Again, J.R. Richard, not Niekro was the outstanding ace of the Astro's staff, while Joe Niekro had, at best, a forgettable season. I am dumbstruck that anyone would claim otherwise (and try to justify it with a bogus 'statistical analysis').
   59. bjhanke Posted: February 11, 2013 at 11:26 PM (#4367547)
Tom - Here's an amusing tale of Hernandez and bunts. It was in one of the division series games, before the World Series, in, if I remember right, 1986. Ron Darling, a righty, was pitching, runners were on first and second, and everyone expected the batter to bunt. Which he did. In that situation - two on and a a righty pitcher - the play goes like this: The pitcher, who is falling off the mound to his left, fields bunts hit down the first base line. The third baseman charges, in case the bunt goes that way, because the pitcher can't really get over to that side of the diamond in time. Shortstop covers third, second baseman covers second, first baseman stays home. If the pitcher is a lefty, he falls towards the third base side and fields third base bunts, the third baseman stays home, shortstop covers second, and the second baseman covers first, while the first baseman charges. Note that this only applies if there are runners on both first and second, so you can't just have both the first and third baseman both charge. You'll leave a bag uncovered.

Well, the bunt went down, and Hernandez charged it, which is the wrong play. He saw Darling, though, and stopped after about 30 feet, and started to scramble back to first, when he saw the second baseman on the first base bag. He turned around, and the third baseman had not charged. That is, the Mets were running this play wrong. The key was the 3B, Gregg Jeffries, a terrible bunt fielder. The Mets had just decided not to ask him to do that, and so ALL bunts, no matter which hand the pitcher threw with, went pitcher fields the third base side, even though that's a problem for him, and the first baseman charges the bunt. What happened to Keith was that, after literally a decade of knowing exactly how those bunt plays go, stopped in mid-charge, remembering that Darling was a righty. Then he turned around, saw the second baseman covering first, remembered that this team had just decided not to ask Jeffries to field bunts and he, Hernandez, was supposed to charge on any bunt play.

Hilarious to watch, if you can find the clip, and also telling about the defensive abilities of Jeffries and Hernandez, as well as how well trained MLB players are. - Brock

   60. DL from MN Posted: February 12, 2013 at 12:17 AM (#4367572)
This is one reason why defensive stats are noisy. A hole in one spot can make everyone else look bad.
   61. lieiam Posted: February 12, 2013 at 01:46 AM (#4367616)
I don't know that Rob Wood is claiming that Joe Niekro was the best NL pitcher in 1979. I think he's just showing the leaderboard using his Win Value stat. I read his post as simply a listing of that stat, not necessarily that Joe Niekro was the best pitcher in the NL that year. And if Win Value is consistent with itself (I don't know beans about it but just saying) then I think you would be incorrect in stating it as "bogus 'statistical analysis'".
   62. EricC Posted: February 12, 2013 at 09:45 AM (#4367655)
1979 prelim. Rankings are based on Win Shares, with WAR as a
secondary consideration. Both playing time and rate stats count:
both P. Niekro and Kern make the ballot. Players are rated with respect both to
all players and all others at the same position. Where the typical
player at a position has less playing time, playing time counts more.
The "big fish in a smaller pond" effect helps C, and, in 1979, helps 2B such as Grich,
but does not help 3B such as Brett or Schmidt, SS such as Smalley or Templeton,
or 1B such as Hernandez.

The ballot is very tight, without much difference between #3 and off the ballot.

1. Darrell Porter
2. Fred Lynn
3. Gary Carter
4. Bobby Grich
5. Ken Singleton
6. George Brett
7. Dave Winfield
8. Jim Kern
9. Mike Schmidt
10. Phil Niekro
11. Jim Rice
12. Don Baylor
13. J.R. Richard
   63. caiman Posted: February 12, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4368197)
To lieiam:
Then what is the value of the win value stat? Why should anyone care whether it is internally consistent? What I want to know is how valuable the player is to the team. That can only be done by comparison of runs produced or surrendered. Wins are an improper valuation simply because wins are a team value, not an individual value. Put Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds, at the height of their careers, on a little league team vs. any MLB team, and the little league team would have zero wins. Therefore, the win value of Babe Ruth and or Barry Bonds would be zero. Is that a good evaluation of the performance of either player?

In any case (replying to EricC) when you put all these "big fish in a little pond",e.g.,adjustments into your evaluation, it becomes ridiculous to call it statistical analysis. Yes, comparing players to other players at the same position is correct, but can only be justified by very narrow and limited comparisons on the basis of run value. Attaching anything else makes the study bogus simply because it becomes virtually impossible to control for variables. Each additional factor must be controlled and evaluated separately, not mushed together and then evaluated.
How in the world was Darrell Porter better than Ken Singleton in Win Shares or win value? Batimore won 102 games and the WS. KC won 85 games. My RPA did not, in any way, include wins. Just runs produced, but somehow, it also lined up with actual, on the field wins. While Porter, in my RPA ratings (see above) had a fabulous year, I cannot see any justification for placing Porter ahead of Singleton as MVP, other than positional value. Positional value is a legitimate way to determine MVP, and I have done that in the past, but it needs to be done by run value, above the average player at that position, not win value.
The job of statistical analysis is to eliminate as many confounding factors as possible so as to isolate the actual value of any event. Once we add factors that are untested and unreliable, we blow up the entire study into uselessness.
   64. bjhanke Posted: February 12, 2013 at 05:39 PM (#4368247)
DL (#60) has "This is one reason why defensive stats are noisy. A hole in one spot can make everyone else look bad."

Very true. From time to time, I complain about George Sisler's defensive rankings, which don't generally match his rep. While it's true that his defense went down after his eye injury in 1922, it's also true that his third basemen were nobody you've ever heard of, while contemporary George Kelly, whose defensive stats do reflect his rep, had, in order, Heinie Zimmerman, Frank Frisch, Heinie Groh and Freddie Lindstrom. I contend that the game's bunters, of whom there were many, would be much more likely to bunt down the third base line than the first base line with the Browns' defense. With the Giants' defense, there's poison in both directions. In the days of endless bunting, a bad third baseman could certainly make a first baseman look bad, by sucking up all the bunt plays. There is no surprise in finding that this effect pops up in other places. Keith Hernandez and Gregg Jeffries are just asking for this kind of trouble. - Brock
   65. DL from MN Posted: February 12, 2013 at 05:54 PM (#4368270)
it needs to be done by run value, above the average player at that position

Not a believer in replacement value?
   66. caiman Posted: February 12, 2013 at 07:03 PM (#4368323)
Please define what you mean by replacement value
   67. caiman Posted: February 12, 2013 at 07:40 PM (#4368351)
I assume that you mean VORP. This is similar to my RPA ratings where I rate the hitters and pitchers vs. the median starting player at that position. The problem with "replacement" is that the median starting player is not generally available. The replacements available are from the team's bench, the waiver wire and the minor leagues or from a trade from another team's bench. This replacement value is an entirely different question from the real world replacements that may or may not be available. Neither Ken Singleton nor Darrell Porter would be easily replaced. However, the more than 16 run difference, in the favor of Singleton, would be hard to reproduce in the case of Darrell Porter. In other words, If one were to obtain an average hitting player to replace Singleton, one would need to have the replacement for Porter to surrender more than 16 runs of team production. That's hard to do, although possible. Obviously, if you could get a slightly better hitter to replace Singleton, then the replacement for Porter would not need to replace as many runs.
   68. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 12, 2013 at 08:31 PM (#4368378)
. No comparison! J.R. Richard was fabulous. Joe Niekro was LUCKY. If "win Values" has Joe Niekro as the top pitcher, then I am convinced that "win values" is bogus. By the way, why would I care about a pitcher's run support? That's the offense' problem. That has nothing to do with the pitcher. The pitcher is just part of the defense. Nothing more. measuring a pitcher's performance vs. his run support makes no sense!

Richard went 18-13 with 3.39 per game runs support
Niekro went 21-11 with 3.92

going 21-11 with 3.92 run support is roughly equivalent to going 19-13 with 3.39 run support
going 18-13 with 3.39 run support is roughly equivalent to going 20-11 with 3.92 run support

   69. caiman Posted: February 12, 2013 at 09:26 PM (#4368407)
Thanks, Johnny Sycophanr-Laden fora. I appreciate the run support figures you listed above, which support my argument, but I repeat that run support has zero, zip, zed to do with evaluating a pitcher's performance. You are looking at W-L. I could care less about W-L. I have a few pitchers, from 1900-2012 in my statistical analysis, who were the best pitchers in the league that had losing records. The W-L is a team value, not an individual value. In addition, run support will vary based upon the stadium where the run support occurred and based upon the pitcher faced by that offense. J.R. Richard, being the ace, would more often be facing a better pitcher than Niekro would have faced. Most rotations are geared to your ace facing their ace. That is not always the case, but it is what is attempted. It often results in lesser pitchers having better W-L records than the ace of the staff, simply because they more often face lower ranked starters.
   70. Rob_Wood Posted: February 12, 2013 at 11:03 PM (#4368450)
Jeez, I don't know where to begin to respond to this new poster. We have been doing the HOM project for over 10 years. If new posters want to join the project and make contributions, we are all for that and encourage open discussion. However, this is the opposite of what has transpired here. If anyone wants to learn more about the methodology behind Win Values there is a long article posted somewhere in the archives, but I doubt the poster has any interest in learning about a stat with which results he does not agree. In short, Win Values answers a simple question: how many wins does a starting pitcher contribute to his team relative to a league average pitcher given the run support he received in each game?
   71. caiman Posted: February 12, 2013 at 11:55 PM (#4368471)
From Mike Gimbel:
Here's the RPA list of pitchers who were the most valuable in their league in that season, but had losing records:

Year: 1910. Ed Walsh Chicago (AL) 18-20
Year: 1922. Lee Meadows Philadelphia (NL) 12-18
Year: 1924. Dolf Luque Cincinnati (NL) 16-18
Year: 1925. Herb Pennock New York (AL) 16-17
Year: 1933. Bump Hadley St. Louis (AL) 15-20
Year: 1938. Bill McGee St. Louis (NL) 7-12
Year: 1943. Nate Andrews Boston (NL) 14-20
Year: 1944. Ken Raffensberger Philadelphia (NL) 13-20
Year: 1946. Ewell Blackwell Cincinnati (NL) 9-13
Year: 1960. Jim Bunning Detroit (AL) 11-14
Year: 1961. Camilo Pascual Minnesota(AL) 15-16
Year: 1974. John Matlack New york (NL) 13-15
Year: 1985. Charlie Hough Texas (AL) 14-16
   72. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 13, 2013 at 10:48 PM (#4369246)
1979 was a great year to be an 11-year-old Orioles fan! Well, except for the last three games. That damn Sister Sledge song still makes me cringe.

Anyway, to review my method, I have created my own set of Player won-lost records from Retrosheet play-by-play data. I calculate W-L records two ways: pWins, which tie to team wins, and eWins, which adjust for context and teammate-quality. I look at wins over positional average (WOPA) and replacement level (WORL).

The links in the previous paragraph are top 25's for pWins and eWins, including postseason games (weighted the same as regular-season games). I also tend to give a little bit of a bonus to players for being the best in the major leagues at their position. My preliminary ballot ended up as probably the most balanced I've had as far as positional diversity. As in 1978, it's a bit AL-heavy, which I'm not entirely comfortable with, but it's what I have for now.

Numbers after players are pWins - pLosses, pWOPA, pWORL. I also look at eWOPA and eWORL.

1. Darrell Porter, 19.2 - 12.5, 3.7, 5.2 - a bit of a catcher bonus pushes him definitively over Fred Lynn
2. Fred Lynn, 22.3 - 14.7, 3.6, 5.3 - the best season of Lynn's career
3. Mike Schmidt, 24.0 - 16.8, 3.1, 5.1 - best player in the NL
4. J.R. Richard, 20.7 - 16.2, 3.2, 4.9 - best pitcher in MLB; if Richard hadn't had his stroke, I like to think that he could have had Randy Johnson's career 15 years before Johnson.
5. Mike Flanagan, 19.8 - 13.0, 3.6, 5.1 - best pitcher in the AL; a fluke season relative to the rest of Flanagan's career, but in 1979 at least, he was a legitimate ace.
6. Dave Concepcion, 21.3 - 17.7, 2.6, 4.4 - best SS in MLB
7. Gorman Thomas, 22.8 - 15.2, 3.6, 5.4 - like Flanagan, this was a fluke season for Thomas
8. Tommy John, 16.4 - 10.9, 3.0, 4.2 - my system likes Tommy John more than I think most statistical systems do in general; I'm not entirely sure why, although he was 3rd in the AL in ERA+ and 2nd in IP in 1979, so it's not like I'm going way, way out on a limb here.
9. Bobby Grich, 19.9 - 15.3, 2.8, 4.5 - best 2B in MLB
10. Dave Winfield, 26.3 - 19.9, 2.1, 4.3 - best corner OF in MLB; looks better in eWOPA/eWORL (2.5/4.5)
11. Keith Hernandez, 21.3 - 14.6, 2.5, 4.2 - best 1B in MLB
12. Roy Smalley, 21.4 - 19.4, 2.1, 4.0 - best SS in the AL
13. Jim Kern, 12.4 - 7.0, 2.3, 3.5 - best relief pitcher in MLB; my system's not a huge fan of relief pitchers, so I gave him a little boost to get him onto the ballot.

It feels to me like there are more guys having fluky best seasons of their career on this ballot than in previous years.
   73. caiman Posted: February 14, 2013 at 06:07 AM (#4369330)
Hi Kiko,

I sang along with "We are Family", as I watched on the TV, because I became a Pirates fan in 1958 when the Dodgers broke my heart and left Brooklyn. Even after the Mets were born and I became a NY Mets fan, the Pirates (and Clemente) were my sentimental 2nd team. Thanks for reminding me about the song and correcting my WS reference.

In consolation, my RPA ratings showed that the O's were, by far, the better team. The Pirates were a very pedestrian NL champ (+64.57 runs), in a very weak field, whereas the O's were a very powerful team (+137.83 runs).

Of course, the biggest upset of the O's was in 1969. The O's had one of the great teams in modern MLB history (+207.34 runs), whereas the Mets were a pretty pedestrian +47.94 runs. Again, as a NY Mets fan, I was incredibly happy! But I must admit that the O's were clearly the overwhelmingly superior team. --Mike Gimbel
   74. Chris Fluit Posted: February 14, 2013 at 10:29 AM (#4369405)
I remember having a discussion a few years ago with someone who insisted that the '79 Pirates were an undeserving champion. Even as an Orioles fan, I thought that was unfair. The Pirates were clearly the underdogs and the Orioles the favorites, but that doesn't make the Pirates undeserving. Even if the Orioles were 67% favorites, they're only expected to win 2 out of 3 times. It shouldn't be surprising for a 33% underdog to win a Series every few years. Unfortunately for us O's fans, '79 was the 1 in 3 year (and '69 was the 1 in 5 year when a 20% underdog knocked off an 80% favorite).
   75. Mike Emeigh Posted: February 14, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4369683)
I repeat that run support has zero, zip, zed to do with evaluating a pitcher's performance.

Well...some pitchers (Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver) do very well at holding down opponent scoring when they receive little or no run support; some pitchers (Bert Blyleven, Jack Morris) don't do well at all. I'm not sure we can take that as a coincidence. All of the available evidence suggests that there is some relationship between runs scored and runs allowed, even after you account for the home-field effect (which dampens home-team scoring once you get past the eighth inning since home-team scoring is limited by the visiting team score).

-- MWE
   76. caiman Posted: February 14, 2013 at 03:27 PM (#4369736)
I do not believe that the run support argument can be proven. Too many variables. Not just stadium factors (and that is clearly a big effect for both Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver vs. Bert Blyleven and Jack Morris). Managerial strategy comes into play. Low scoring games and low scoring stadiums produce different strategy from higher scoring games. Your managerial strategy will be very different from Coors Field vs. the Astrodome or Shea Stadium. The bullpen effect. With better pitchers, fewer lower ranking relievers will be needed. This means that when the 'ace' starter leaves, a top reliever is likely brought into the game because the 'ace' will leave the game later than the average starter. The quality of the bullpen, therefore, also becomes a factor This changes both the strategy as well as the outcome as well as the outcome for runners on base when the reliever comes in. Managerial strategy also changes if, as with most often the Mets, the team had an awful bench. That is not to say that there isn't a run supprt effect. I just don't think that it can be proven or even shown. The example, given by Rob Wood, of the Joe Niekro vs. Phil Niekro win values is an example of bad analysis and should instantly call into question the methodology utilized.

I do not claim that my historical RPA rankings are fully correct. They are clearly not. I had to make serious adjustments to my RPA methodology so as to accomodate the lack of adequate data from the historical record. This was done so as to rate the current players on the same scale as the historical players. In actuality, there are differences between my ratings for players in recent years, between this historical RPA study and my actual RPA ratings of these recent players. I have struggled with this problem but cannot see a way out of the problem without feeling like I am cheating the historical players. I had to shrug my shoulders and came to the judgement that the only way to be accurate and fair is to use the same trimmed scale for all. In so doing, I do feel that, regardless of the variance, the product was very good. Yes, some very good arguments could be made about some of its validity, but I think that it has been a very good study and that the flaws need to be understood and, perhaps, some future study will overcome some of the flaws.
   77. GuyM Posted: February 14, 2013 at 03:34 PM (#4369747)
All of the available evidence suggests that there is some relationship between runs scored and runs allowed,

It would be much closer to the truth to say that all of the available evidence suggests there is NO relationship. In Blyleven's case, his teams appear to have won about 7 fewer games than expected given their runs scored and Blyleven's general talent level. We have no reason to attribute more than half of that difference to Blyleven. So we're talking 3.5 wins over 22 years -- that's supposed to be evidence of some real skill (or lack thereof)? Please......
   78. caiman Posted: February 14, 2013 at 03:34 PM (#4369749)
I will be uploading my excel files to this website for your perusal as soon as I have completed all the 2012 season updates.
   79. EricC Posted: February 14, 2013 at 07:02 PM (#4369962)
I cannot see any justification for placing Porter ahead of Singleton as MVP, other than positional value.

Look, along with everybody else here, you and I agree on sabermetric principles (we're not voting Stargell #1)
and in fairness- we simply have philosophical differences into how to combine the various factors that go into
determining an MMP ballot.

In the part of my system that compares players with contemporaries at the same position, Singleton's performance
is irrelevant to Porter's evaluation.

Other than perhaps straight voting by WAR or some other value metric, there will always be an arbitrariness
in how voters combine elements such as rates, position, defense, totals, etc. I enjoy seeing how different systems
yield different results. I don't claim that my system is the only one, or the best, and respect the choices of the other
voters without thinking that their ballots should look more like mine.
   80. caiman Posted: February 14, 2013 at 08:04 PM (#4369985)
Hi Eric,

I would accept Win Shares as superior if it proved that it is superior. Arbitrariousness is not the issue. Proof is. Statistical analysis isn't something that can be based on arbitrariness. It is based upon proofs of validity. When I looked at Bill James' description of the Win Shares 'method', it was a hodge-podge of stats and subjective measures. I will fully admit that my method, and any other method, are only approximations of reality. In other words, no model can be correct. However, I have a real problem with the idea of wins being used, rather than runs. One is team based, the other is individual player based. In any case, all subjective opinions must be eliminated from any statistical analysis. While I 'believe' that Keith Hernandez was the best defensive first baseman that I ever saw, I must not include that in my ratings. I have found too many opinions of this sort have been found to be wrong. When I did my defensive ratings, based upon batted balls put in play and adjusted for the stadium, the position and the opponents, Both Ozzie Smith and Devon White were confirmed as terrific defensive players, but supposed great defensive players like Roberto Alomar and Ken Griffey, Jr. were not. Likewise, some supposed awful defensive players were not found to be so awful, while others proved even worse than we knew. Therefore, I find it impossible to include opinions of defense in any rating system, no matter how much 'experts' insist otherwise. My personal situation, when advising the Bosox, has a perfect example in Scott Cooper. Cooper was considered an all-star hitter and top defensive player. He was neither. In fact, he was below average in both areas. We traded him to ST. Louis and this so-called "all-star" was released by ST. Louis in mid-season. Very early in the season, I met with the manager (Butch Hobson) and was aghast as he waxed poetic about how Cooper was the best defensive third baseman in MLB. I was further shocked when the AL managers, after the season, voted Cooper the best defensive third-baseman in the AL. What a joke! It told me all I needed to know about taking the 'experts' evaluations for good coin.
   81. Chris Fluit Posted: February 14, 2013 at 11:26 PM (#4370085)
Considering that Kiko Sakata has joined Eric in putting Porter first on the ballot, I'd say he's well within the bounds of this project.
   82. caiman Posted: February 15, 2013 at 12:50 AM (#4370112)
I do not dispute that Darrell Porter was a legitimate candidate for MVP. However, if you look at my above list, another catcher, Brian Downing, produced more runs than Porter. In other words, an even better case, in terms of positional value could be made for Downing, especially as the Angels made it to the ALCS.

I looked at all the first basemen and catchers in the AL. Here's the list and the runs produced or surrendered. The comparison to the median still shows Singleton with a very small advantage over Downing, even if you took the position into account:

First Base & run value:
Ken Singleton 45.56 runs
Cecil Cooper 19.94 runs
Bruce Bochte 19.25 runs
Rod Carew 16.08 runs
Dave Revering 13.03 runs
John Mayberry 11.39 runs
Bob Watson/George Scott 9.18 runs
Jason Thompson 7.18 Runs
Andre Thornton 6.74 runs
Lamar Johnson 6.02 runs
Chris Chambliss 5.17 runs
Pat Putnam 1.85 runs
Ron Jackson -3.93 runs
Pete LaCock -7.82 runs

Median of above = 8.18 runs
Singleton's value over the median starter = 37.38 runs

Catcher & Run value:
Brian Downing 30.42 runs
Darrell Porter 29.34 runs
Lance Parrish 8.43 runs
Milt May/Bill Nahorodny -3.36 runs
Jim Sundberg -3.96 runs
Charlie Moore/Buck Martinez -4.91 runs
Jeff Newman -4.97 runs
Gary Alexander/Ron Hassey -6.33 runs
Butch Wynegar -7.01 runs
Rick Dempsey -7.10 runs
Thurman Munson/Jerry Narron -7.75 runs
Gary Allenson/Bob Montgomery -12.65 runs
Bob Stinson/Larry Cox -14.83 runs
Rick Cerone -16.29 runs

Median of catchers = -5.65 runs

Brian Downing's 30.42 + 5.65 = 36.07 positional run value. This is 1.31 runs lower than Singleton. Not a huge difference, but Singleton wins.
   83. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 15, 2013 at 03:00 AM (#4370138)
I looked at all the first basemen and catchers in the AL. Here's the list and the runs produced or surrendered. The comparison to the median still shows Singleton with a very small advantage over Downing, even if you took the position into account:

Ken Singleton played right field for the 1979 Orioles. Also, are you factoring in defense? Both Singleton and Downing were below-average fielders (Downing moved to LF by 1981 and Singleton became a full-time DH in 1982), while my system thinks that Darrell Porter was an excellent defensive catcher in 1979 (best in the AL) (BB-Ref has him 4th in the AL in Total Zone Runs).
   84. caiman Posted: February 16, 2013 at 03:54 AM (#4370605)

You are right! Thanls Kiko! I'll have to re-do the above list with RF'ers.

Where did I get the fixation that he was a firstbaseman? He was always an outfielder! Yikes!

   85. caiman Posted: February 16, 2013 at 04:31 AM (#4370608)
Here's the list of RF'ers:

Ken Singleton 45.56 runs
Sixto Lezcano 37.69 runs
Reggie Jackson 29.19 runs
Champ Summers 23.02 runs
Dan Ford 13.23 runs
Bobby Bonds 8.69 runs
Leon Roberts 6.53 runs
Dwight Evans 5.87 runs
Richie Zisk 2.78 runs
Claudell Washington/Rusty Torres -0.09 runs
Al Cowens -3.95 runs
Hosken Powell/Rick Sofield -6.44 runs
Tony Armas/Joe Wallis/Miguel Dilone -9.84 runs
Bob Bailor/Joe Cannon -27.69 runs

Median = 6.20 runs Singleton's advantage over the median = 39.36 runs which is 3.29 runs better than Downing.

As to your question about defense, how can anyone factor in defense in 1979? Where is the data? There isn't any! I could care less where BB-Ref has him, or any other player, rated on defense. There is no provable data! There cannot be a "system" without testable data! Even my above ratings for offense alone is a lot shakier than my current methodology. My current methodology is based upon a lot of detailed data from every ball put in play which makes it possible to see what the player is actually doing on defense, in addition to a lot more data for the hitter based upon those same balls put in play.

Defensive data, as published in the past, was utterly useless in evaluating players. Yes, I have seen some pretty silly attempts to try to decipher that useless data, but I think it would be better to just admit that we don't know than to try to make something out of that nonsense. This hurts me to say this. Like my problem with a probably wonderful defensive player in Keith Hernandez, my favorite player in the '60's until his death was Roberto Clemente. I was amazed by what I perceived was his fabulous defensive prowess. Unfortunately, I cannot use my perceptions in these ratings because my perceptions are purely subjective and cannot, therefore, be included in my study. All that I can do is to notify the reader of my data, that the defense was not included and let the reader come to their own conclusions.
   86. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 16, 2013 at 02:32 PM (#4370722)
As to your question about defense, how can anyone factor in defense in 1979? Where is the data? There isn't any! I could care less where BB-Ref has him, or any other player, rated on defense. There is no provable data! There cannot be a "system" without testable data!

So, in your view Mark Belanger was the worst player in baseball for a decade whose manager was an idiot for continuing to run him out there, Brooks Robinson was a mediocre hitter whose main skill was managing to stick around for 20+ years, and the success of the 1906-10 Cubs was their inexplicable ability to get fluky good pitching seasons out of guys like Orval Overall and Jack Pfiester who just happened to stink everywhere else they pitched?

Are our defensive estimates for 1979 perfect? No. Do they even rise to the level of "pretty good"? Maybe not. But does that mean that a better estimate would be to simply assume that every single major-league player was exactly average at every position they played? Of course not.

Since we're talking about Darrell Porter, we can start with the easiest one: catchers. Thanks to the wonders of Retrosheet, we have nearly as much data for 1979 as we do for 2012 for the things that go into most measures of catcher defense: SB, CS, PB, WP. We know that Darrell Porter allowed 64 SB and was credited with 57 caught stealings and 3 pickoffs. Pitchers also affect SB/CS totals, so ideally one tries to control for this. We have similar data - and similar issues of sharing credit - on wild pitches and passed balls. Doing all of that, I end up finding Porter to have been worth around 8 net runs for his fielding. That alone is enough to push him ahead of Ken Singleton (and Brian Downing) even without considering Singleton's defense at all.

Now, for outfielders, yes, we have considerably less useful data in 1979. But, again, thanks to play-by-play data, we have a pretty good record of how many baserunners Singleton threw out vs. how many baserunners advanced on him. We can compare those numbers for Singleton to other right fielders. Doing so, I find that Singleton was 1 or 2 runs below average in that. Is that a perfect estimate? No, we don't know exactly where he fielded the doubles where runners scored from first base on him, and he's close enough to zero there that it's as reasonable as not to just call him average. In terms of Singleton converting outs, again, the data's less than ideal, but we can see that Singleton made about .23 plays per 9 innings fewer than the average right fielder. We want to adjust that for his opportunities, of course, and here, yes, error creeps into our estimates, but, again, doing this we can make a better estimate than merely throwing up our hands and saying zero. Taking it all into account, I estimate that Singleton was worth perhaps -3 runs for his fielding. Not terrible, but a bit below average, and enough to push him more clearly below Porter (and several other guys, given that he ends up off my ballot entirely - and I say this as a guy who absolutely loved Ken Singleton when I was an 11-year-old Orioles fan in 1979).

If you're interested, I have a very long (warning: it's much, much longer than this) writeup of my methodologies here.
   87. caiman Posted: February 16, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4370788)
Mark Belanger and Brooks Robinson were very likely very good fielders. As I stated above, my data is based only on what is really available. My final words were "the defense was not included and let the reader come to their own conclusions". I will continue to claim that Roberto Clemente was the greatest RF'er that I ever saw. That means that the offensive numbers from my study will be a baseline judgment, not the end-all judgment.

I will not, however,place any defensive numbers into my evaluation of Clemente or Belanger or Robinson until it can be demonstrated that the play-by-play data is produced from records or video that are comparable to what went into the current play-by-play data. If that is so, then I will gladly go back and use it. Can you inform me if that is so?

Putouts and assists are useless categories and Catcher stolen bases/CS stats are of secondary importance to catcher pitch calling. In my study of the catcher issue, the ability of a catcher to control base running is often a negative, as it takes the attention of the catcher and the pitcher away from the job of getting the hitter out.Mike Stanley, who was a lousy thrower, in my opinion (based on a limmited but interesting in-depth study that I got Stats, Inc. to do for me one season), was a better defensive catcher than Ivan Rodriguez, despite Rodriguez' throwing prowess. Catcher fielding must include calling the game and handling the pitchers. Throwing is a secondary question. Likewise for outfielders. Throwing is a very, very secondary issue. First CATCH THE BALL! Jeff Francouer is considered an outstanding defensive outfielder. He is nothing of the sort. Yeah, he can throw out some runners, after he's allowed balls to fall in or roll to the wall, that should have been caught or cut-off. An interesting example of a bad reputation that was earned through misperception was of Lonnie Smith. Lonnie was known as "skates" because he often tended to fall down chasing fly balls. He would trip over his own feet! Yet, when I analyzed his defense, it was clear he was a superior defensive leftfielder! Not very superior, because his fall-downs hurt his rating, but still a few points above average. Not terrific, but certainly more than adequate. It was clear that he was catching balls, due to his quickness and speed, that slower oufielders would be picking up after bouncing on the warning track.

Again, I would be very, very interested in historical play-by-play data that is accurate. By accurate, I mean in the way it is accurate in the last two decades. I do my analysis from that same play-by-play data on Retrosheet. It is a wonderful source of information that I have written my software to utilise. I have not inquired as to the quality of the data in the prior historical data. Perhaps that is my fault, not a problem with the data. If I can be assured that the historical data from, say 1979, is similarly accurate and the data is structured the same way, then I will want to go back and use it and run my software on it. The data that I used for my excel spreadsheet study came from the Baseball-Reference website. I thank them for making the data available, but accurate play-by-play data would be far, far more valuable and far,far more accurate.

Again, I do not claim that my ratings for 1979 are the end-all. They are only there because I did not see any alternative that was accurate. It would be wonderful if the play-by-play data were accurate and detailed in the way it currently is. I do not need pitch-by-pitch, but play-by-play, if accurate, would make my 1979 RPA ratings that result from that data, very, very accurate and it would definitely include a defensive ratings for every fielder. It would also be interesting to see how each hitter fared against each of the 6 categories of pitchers in my RPA ratings: Lefty and righty Flyball, Groundball and Neutral-type pitchers.

This is a good discussion and perhaps, you'll be educating me on what is actually available on Retrosheet. What is the source of that data? What is the accuracy and the detail? Certainly most of the games are not on video somewhere. How was the remainder of the data assembled and checked for accuracy?
   88. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 16, 2013 at 05:39 PM (#4370806)
My understanding of the 1979 play-by-play data from Retrosheet is that it primarily comes from scorecards of people keeping score at games - fans, media. Some teams did somewhat more detailed scoring and, in some cases, Retrosheet has these data (I had thought, for example, the Orioles included pitch counts in their scoring, but looking at Retrosheet's Event Files, they don't seem to have pitch information for Orioles games). I could be wrong, but my sense is that Retrosheet seeks to use multiple sources for its data whenever possible and that it is checked for internal consistency and against other sources (box scores, official totals, media accounts) prior to publishing.

In terms of balls in play, Retrosheet data prior to 1987 or so has no location data beyond who the first fielder was to touch a ball. On a handful of occasions, they might distinguish fly-outs to left field from fly-outs to left-center field, but that's about it. For hits-in-play, the earlier in time you go, you often don't get any information at all. Skimming through the 1979 data, they seem to be fairly complete in terms of distinguishing S7 from S8 with occasional notations on depth (e.g., F8/8D vs. F8).

I'm not sure what you mean by "provable" or "testable" data. If you mean, the final fielding ratings, in what way are modern ratings "provable"? That implies there's an absolute right answer and we know what it is. I'm not sure either of those implications are true, especially the latter.

But at the other end, you seem to have this black/white view of data: it's either perfect or useless. I disagree: the data we have for 1979 is a lighter shade of gray than the data we have for 2012 but a darker shade of gray than the data we have for 1950 which is a darker shade of gray than the data we have for 1910. But none of that data is entirely white/useless.

Finally, on the topic of game-calling skill among major-league catchers, two comments. First, I've never read a study or fielding system that convinced me that it had solved this one. Second, if "game-calling" is an output-based skill - i.e., the key is whether the pitch a catcher called was crushed for a double vs. popped up to infield, not whether the catcher called a fastball or a curve on that particular pitch - then I would think the play-by-play (but not pitch-by-pitch) data we have for 1979 should be of some use - less use than 2012 data, perhaps, but not entirely useless.
   89. caiman Posted: February 16, 2013 at 08:08 PM (#4370842)
I don't ask for perfect data. Just reliable data that has adequate detail and, above all, is league wide. It can't be very useful if data from one stadium appears useful but data from another stadium is rather poor. Defensive players at their home stadiums tend to be much better fielders than at the away parks, particularly if the away park is a difficult park to play defense at. Conversely, if the home park is an extremely easy park to play defense at, the opponent coming from a hard park to play defense at, may actually have a defensive advantage even at the home park of the opposing player.
   90. caiman Posted: February 17, 2013 at 01:44 AM (#4370919)
I don't even claim that my ratings in these historical data sets are anything close to perfect. They are not. They, in fact, are likely far from perfect. It is just my frustration with seeing attempts at analysis that are even farther off the mark because of attempts to see things in the data that are not there. I certainly wish that my historical data was better, but I cannot do that because the present available data won't allow that.
   91. bjhanke Posted: February 18, 2013 at 10:49 AM (#4371267)
Mr. C - I should have written this several posts ago. Your placement of Willie Wilson is defensible, if your system places a high value on defense. Wilson was really a hot glove CF, but the Royals got confused about that for a couple of years, and had a real good CF glove in place, so they played Willie in LF for a while. Wilson was overqualified for LF, and your system probably recognizes that. I didn't see a whole lot of Wilson, being in STL, but what I did see looked like the very best defensive LF ever. It didn't hurt that the Royals played in a huge turf ballpark, with lots of opportunity for Wilson to show off his range.

I don't know what systems say about Daryl Porter's defense, but Whitey Herzog thought enough of that to try to get Ted Simmons to move to 1B and Keith Hernandez to move to the OF in order to make room for Daryl. Simmons grumbled, but was willing. Hernandez absolutely refused to move. That's the back story as to why Herzog traded Simmons. It wasn't because he thought Simmons was finished, but he wanted Porter's glove behind the plate, and Keith wouldn't let him get Simmons out of the way, and Simmons' knees made him a bigger gamble than Hernandez was.

BTW, one of the things I have noticed over the years is that, when a manager, or even a GM, moves from one organization to another, he often has a underrated pet player from the old team that he wants to take with him. Whitey REALLY wanted Porter. When Joe Torre took over the job, he lobbied very publicly to get Devon White (Joe had been broadcasting Angels games). The ownership didn't give him his way, but White proved to be coming into a peak that fully justified Torre's judgment. When Tony LaRussa came to STL, he desperately wanted this big first baseman named McGwire....

I first noticed this, actually, when Sid Thrift moved from the White Sox to Pittsburgh. One of the first things he did was to loot the Chisox for Bobby Bonilla. The Chisox didn't know what to do with Bonilla, because he was a weak glove, but Thrift thought he could play 3B well enough, and he knew he could get Bonilla for cheap and that Bonilla could really hit. - Brock Hanke
   92. caiman Posted: February 19, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4371923)

I assume that the "Mr. C" is me. Yes, my system places a high value on defense. Preventing runs is as important as scoring runs. The pitvher is the primary defender, but that pitcher could be made to look good or bad by the quality of defense behind him. When a CF'er, even a poor defensive CF'er moves to LF or RF, it usually results in a much better defense in LF or RF simply because the average LF'er or RF'er has much less range than the average CF'er. Josh Hamilton's move to RF is just such an example that is likely to pay off on defense.

Here's my top and bottom defensive players today (+ is good, - is bad):

First Base:
Adrian Gonzalez +7
Mark Reynolds - 11

Second Base:
Ramon Santiago +16
Logan Forsythe -20

Paul Janish +16
Derek Jeter -8 (Josh Rutledge is -11 but just based on 210 ground balls hit into his area, which gives a lower level of confidence in that rating.)

Third Base:
Juan Uribe +13
Greg Dobbs -15

Left Field:
Brett Gardner +16
Delmon Young -15

Craig Gentry +20 (FYI: Mike Trout is +15 and Peter Bourjos is +12)
Josh Hamilton -14 (Gerardo Parra is -17 but based only on 197 fly balls)

Right Field:
Alex Rios +17 (FYI: Jason Heyward is +15)
Lucas Duda -26
   93. caiman Posted: February 19, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4371979)
Below is a copy from my excel files. Pardon the bad formatting. The last 3 columns for each player are (1) age of best season (2) age of last season with a positive value of at least 10 runs and (3) the last season where the player was still a positive value. The first column is the last year of MLB service. As you can readily see, Barry Bonds DID NOT have an unusual performance at an advanced age for a player of his ability. Was Honus Wagner on PED's? :)

Note: the same pattern is in pitchers as well.

YR PLAYER G PA 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP GDP HBP IBB RPA RUN VALUE AGE of top season Age of last Premier season Age of last Plus season
1935 Babe Ruth* 2503 10617 506 136 714 2062 1330 .342 .474 2 43 0 .245 1326.16 25 39 40
2007 Barry Bonds* 2986 12606 601 77 762 2558 1539 .298 .448 165 106 688 .196 1046.19 36 42 42
1960 Ted Williams* 2292 9791 525 71 521 2021 709 .344 .483 197 39 86 .222 988.32 22 41 41
1968 Mickey Mantle# 2401 9909 344 72 536 1733 1710 .298 .423 113 13 126 .217 911.91 25 36 36
1939 Lou Gehrig* 2164 9660 534 163 493 1508 790 .340 .447 2 45 0 .213 891.47 24 35 35
1928 Ty Cobb* 3034 13068 724 295 117 1249 562 .366 .433 0 94 0 .178 818.17 30 40 41
1947 Mel Ott* 2730 11337 488 72 511 1708 896 .304 .414 82 64 0 .183 813.14 27 36 36
1937 Rogers Hornsby 2259 9475 541 169 301 1038 679 .358 .434 3 48 0 .197 734.21 28 35 37
1963 Stan Musial* 3026 12712 725 177 475 1599 696 .331 .418 243 53 127 .168 733.89 27 41 42
1973 Willie Mays 2992 12493 523 140 660 1464 1526 .302 .387 251 44 192 .166 712.02 32 41 41
1976 Hank Aaron 3298 13940 624 98 755 1402 1383 .305 .377 328 32 293 .158 688.03 29 40 42
1976 Frank Robinson 2808 11743 528 72 586 1420 1532 .294 .392 270 198 218 .171 676.76 30 38 39
1945 Jimmie Foxx 2317 9670 458 125 534 1452 1311 .325 .428 69 13 0 .188 670.49 25 33 37
1928 Tris Speaker* 2789 11988 792 222 117 1381 283 .345 .428 0 103 0 .172 656.42 28 39 39
1984 Joe Morgan* 2649 11329 449 96 268 1865 1015 .271 .395 105 40 76 .163 622.04 32 39 40
1968 Eddie Mathews* 2391 10101 354 72 512 1444 1487 .271 .378 123 26 107 .171 621.33 21 35 35
2008 Frank Thomas 2322 10074 495 12 521 1667 1397 .301 .424 226 87 168 .186 618.24 27 39 40
1930 Eddie Collins* 2826 12037 438 187 47 1499 360 .333 .424 0 77 0 .165 578.53 27 40 40
2011 Manny Ramirez 2302 9774 547 20 555 1329 1813 .312 .414 243 109 216 .180 561.38 30 38 38
2003 Rickey Henderson 3081 13346 510 66 297 2190 1694 .279 .403 172 98 61 .162 555.06 31 40 43
2001 Mark McGwire 1874 7660 252 6 583 1317 1596 .263 .398 147 75 150 .190 535.89 34 36 37
2012 Jim Thome* 2543 10313 451 26 612 1747 2548 .276 .405 165 69 173 .174 533.69 31 40 40
1987 Reggie Jackson* 2820 11416 463 49 563 1375 2597 .262 .358 183 96 164 .169 524.46 23 40 40
1917 Honus Wagner 2433 10220 551 232 82 877 662 .328 .394 0 107 0 .162 524.37 34 41 43
1975 Harmon Killebrew 2435 9831 290 24 573 1559 1699 .256 .379 243 48 160 .175 521.69 33 36 39
1989 Mike Schmidt 2404 10062 408 59 548 1507 1883 .267 .384 156 79 201 .160 514.67 32 37 38
1980 Willie McCovey* 2588 9686 353 46 521 1345 1550 .270 .377 176 69 260 .159 498.18 31 39 41
1951 Joe DiMaggio 1736 7671 389 131 361 790 369 .325 .398 130 46 0 .183 495.75 26 36 36
2012 Alex Rodriguez 2524 11163 512 30 647 1217 2032 .300 .388 235 167 91 .165 477.65
2005 Jeff Bagwell 2150 9431 488 32 449 1401 1558 .297 .412 221 128 155 .159 470.24 31 36 37
1953 Johnny Mize* 1884 7371 367 83 359 856 524 .312 .397 99 52 0 .172 465.10 26 37 40
2009 Gary Sheffield 2576 10947 467 27 509 1475 1171 .292 .397 235 135 130 .155 459.66 27 38 40
2012 Albert Pujols 1859 8103 505 15 475 1027 780 .325 .418 251 82 267 .166 455.78
2012 Jason Giambi* 2163 8622 395 9 429 1334 1504 .280 .408 155 175 95 .173 444.14
1974 Al Kaline 2834 11597 498 75 399 1277 1020 .297 .379 271 55 131 .160 436.16 32 37 38
1932 Harry Heilmann 2147 8960 542 151 183 856 550 .342 .410 0 40 0 .168 426.70 28 35 35
1982 Willie Stargell* 2360 9026 423 55 475 937 1936 .282 .363 143 78 227 .155 426.65 33 39 40
2004 Edgar Martinez 2055 8672 514 15 309 1283 1202 .312 .422 190 89 113 .172 424.43 32 40 40
2012 Chipper Jones# 2499 10614 549 38 468 1512 1409 .303 .405 253 18 177 .148 416.74
1997 Eddie Murray# 3026 12817 560 35 504 1333 1516 .287 .363 315 18 222 .151 400.67 28 39 39
1983 Carl Yastrzemski* 3308 13991 646 59 452 1845 1393 .285 .382 323 40 190 .150 394.88 28 37 43
1977 Dick Allen 1749 7314 320 79 351 894 1556 .292 .381 164 16 138 .162 385.92 30 32 34
1974 Norm Cash* 2089 7910 241 41 377 1043 1091 .271 .377 139 90 112 .171 384.40 26 38 39
1995 Dave Winfield 2973 12358 540 88 465 1216 1686 .283 .355 319 25 172 .147 376.18 27 40 41
2010 Ken Griffey,Jr.* 2671 11304 524 38 630 1312 1779 .284 .373 199 81 246 .153 372.77 23 37 39
   94. caiman Posted: February 19, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4371981)
I'll have to re-do this mess! It looked goo in my preparation. YIKES!
   95. caiman Posted: February 19, 2013 at 03:23 PM (#4371986)
Question: How does one get columns of data into these comments?
   96. caiman Posted: February 19, 2013 at 03:42 PM (#4372000)
Cy Young's last premier season was at the age of 41 and his last plus season was at the age of 44. How is that so different from Roger Clemens' last premier season at the age of 43 and last plus season at the age of 44?

In fact almost half the top pitchers last premier season was at the age of 40 or later!
   97. SavoyBG Posted: February 19, 2013 at 06:20 PM (#4372181)
As you can readily see, Barry Bonds DID NOT have an unusual performance at an advanced age for a player of his ability. Was Honus Wagner on PED's? :)

Honus Wagner was not much better at 40 than he was at 30 like Barry was.
   98. DL from MN Posted: February 19, 2013 at 07:32 PM (#4372220)
Mr. C is not caiman, it's the person who posted several times in the thread as "Mr. C". I appreciate the data though.
   99. DL from MN Posted: February 19, 2013 at 07:32 PM (#4372221)
Question: How does one get columns of data into these comments?

Best is to use the 'pre' tags
   100. caiman Posted: February 19, 2013 at 09:29 PM (#4372280)
What's a pre tag?
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